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Hanergy rolls out solar quartet

Day shift: Hanergy’s solar concepts do not need to be plugged in but continuously recharge on the run – until the sun sets.

Four solar powered Hanergy concepts light the way for alternative electric vehicles

11 Jul 2016

HANERGY – one of the world’s leading authorities in alternative energy – has unveiled four electric concept vehicles that do not rely on a connection to the national grid to recharge, instead drawing their power from the sun.

While many of the world’s car-makers explore the possibilities of alternative energy, only a handful have considered the sun as a recharging source, with plug-in pure EVs and hybrids the clear leaders in electrification tech at this stage.

However, the Chinese manufacturer of thin-film photovoltaic cells says its technology can be used to free EVs from their dependence on hybrid powertrains and the three-pin socket.

The fleet of solar cars were unveiled at the Disruptive Innovations Drive the Future event outside the company’s headquarters in Beijing, headlined by a sportscar dubbed the Hanergy Solar R alongside three other vehicles catering for different segments.

Until now, a solar cell’s maximum current and voltage output has limited their use in electric vehicles, which require large amounts of instantaneous power for good performance, but Hanergy says advances in the technology make solar cars feasible for “medium and short distance journeys”.

Like pure EVs and hybrids, the Hanergy concepts use a battery for energy storage and maximum performance, but instead of recharging with a wall socket or combustion engine, the solar cars are constantly topping up the battery during daylight hours.

The multinational energy company has not announced plans to offer a production version of any of the cars but says the idea “can be commercialised” leaving the door open for collaboration with car-makers.

Hanergy has recently signed an agreement with Chinese vehicle-maker Foton to produce clean energy buses so a move into production solar cars may not be so far fetched.

With a conversion rate of 31.6 per cent, Hanergy’s cells can produce up to 10kWh of power in five to six hours of daylight and enough electricity to propel a vehicle about 80km – sufficient for an average motorist’s daily city commute, says the company.

The vehicles are equipped with specialised conversion and storage systems and even ultrasonic cleaning technology to maximise the amount of charge derived from the sun, but in the case of poor light or longer journeys, the battery can be topped up as with any other PHEV.

With a full charge – either from the sun or a mains cable – the Hanergy Solar R, Hanergy Solar O, Hanergy Solar L and Hanergy Solar A can travel up to 350km.

The clean energy specialist highlighted the flexibility of its award-winning gallium arsenide (GaAs) dual-junction cells, and says their lightweight construction offers numerous applications including unmanned aircraft, mobile phones, backpacks and even clothing, to produce free and zero-emissions electricity everywhere.

With the potential for “zero charging” Hanergy says the solar car is more practical and will have a greater appeal to customers who may still be deterred from electric vehicles by so-called range anxiety and extended charging times.

Speaking at the event, renewable energy expert and economist Woodrow Clark supported the concept of solar vehicles and said the potential for sun-fuelled travel was more than a fantasy.

“The reason I'm here is because I very much believe in what Hanergy is doing by making a car totally powered by solar energy,” he said.

The Chinese company is a global leader in solar energy as well as conducting extensive research and development in hydro-electric and wind electricity generation, and has manufacturing facilities and power-generation sites worldwide.

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